Several students have recently come out of musical ruts because we were able to get organized with their practice and they were willing to embrace a simple practice routine. It is always frustrating when we as students or teachers think that something sounds better the previous lesson than it does at the beginning of the current lesson. In group lessons, students get frustrated when they start to lag behind the others even when they are more than capable of keeping up. » Read more
Recently several of my students have found themselves on the tangible side of much hard work, frustration, hope and dedication. The tangible side being the stage when we know we are onto something. We know we sound better. We are aware there is a command developed over our art form that allows us to be more fluid, spontaneous and creative. » Read more
Practicing scales is a great opportunity to consciously shape our personal sound. For many years I would use scales to build dexterity and theory knowledge. On many levels this experience was very helpful. However, the greatest benefit I experienced from practicing scales happened when I changed my habits, focus and priorities. » Read more
The compartmentalization of musicianship can lead to several blocks and disconnects in our practice and performance. We study theory separately from technique, technique separately from repertoire and repertoire separately from improvisation. This can lead to large gaps in artistic development because we tend to pigeonhole ourselves way too soon and too often. We decide that we can improvise but can’t read. We can read but can’t memorize. We can memorize but we can’t do Hanon. We hate theory but love repertoire.
It’s as if the musical dots are discouraged from being connected!
Throughout my playing and practice career I have often consciously and unconsciously struggled with being 100% connected to what I was playing. Possessed by a faithful autopilot, my hands and body sometimes carry me through a performance or practice session. Without respecting this disconnect; we typically endlessly analyze our performances, learn new material, push ourselves in negative ways and use external motivation to improve.